Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
October 16, 2008
Proper Scheduling for Contact Centers is Essential for Success
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
To better understand a contact center’s approach to scheduling, it is important to examine their measurement of its impact on the center’s performance. According to ICMI research, the majority (57.8 percent) of contact centers have an adherence to schedule objectives of between 90 and 100 percent. A total of 78.7 percent always, nearly always or usually meet that objective.
Interestingly, Customer Relationship Metrics research found that contact centers place a much greater emphasis on accessibility metrics (service level, average speed of answer, percentage of calls abandoned) than on efficiency (agent occupancy, agent utilization) and workforce management effectiveness (agent adherence, forecast accuracy, schedule accuracy) metric.
What is most surprising in these studies is that contact centers often fail to identify and understand the relationship between accurate forecasts, performance and schedules. A strong 57.1 percent of respondents in ICMI’s research measured forecasting accuracy, yet many still do not use their workforce management solution to maximize agent performance.
Consider the element of first call resolution (FCR). Many contact centers within the global industry measure this key metric. They also know how important FCR is to customer satisfaction. However, if the contact center is not properly staffed with the necessary agents to handle incoming calls and contacts, FCR can plummet, reducing overall customer satisfaction and increasing customer churn.
Agent satisfaction is also important to consider. The contact center industry struggles with high and rising agent attrition. If the contact center fails to measure or focus on agent satisfaction, this trend in the industry is not likely to change. For their part, 45.6 percent of ICMI respondents did not measure agent satisfaction.
It isn’t any secret that contact center agents are operating in a demanding industry and a stressful job. When the contact center fails to accurately schedule according to forecasts and agent skill levels, agents can be overwhelmed, dealing with higher volumes and frustrated customers. In such a scenario, no one wins.
To ensure that the contact center can maximize the potential of its agents and deliver the best experience possible for its customers, workforce management solutions with robust scheduling applications are a solid investment. When the contact center protects both its internal and external customers, optimal success can be achieved.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Michelle Robart